Self-Assessment: An Important Key to Bar Exam Success

Most students do not like to self-assess their own work and do not like to evaluate how they are doing. Why? It’s hard and uncomfortable. It’s easier to just move on or have someone tell you how you’re doing. There are a couple of problems with this: (1) no one knows you better than you do, and (2) no one is taking that exam with you.

Strong self-assessment and evaluation is tied to higher bar exam scores. This makes sense. The student who constantly evaluates and self-assesses their own work becomes a better learner. This student not only finds better ways to know the material, but they find ways to approach the material in ways that work for them specifically. No one can make you a better learner but yourself.

Let’s look at the two main ways you can better evaluate your work during bar exam study.

  1. Evaluating your MBE performance: Each time you do a set of questions, you should be understanding why you got a question wrong or right. You should also be understanding why another answer is write, or why the others are wrong. You should be evaluating WHY you are getting your questions wrong, and in your study, you should be trying to target the WHY – studying areas or changing up your strategy to fix the problems.
  2. Evaluating your MEE and MPT performance: When practicing your writing, ask the following questions –
  • How long did this MEE/MPT take you? If it took you more than the allotted time, why did it?
  • Did you miss any issues? What were the issues you missed? How will you not miss them again in the future?
  • How was your formatting and organization? Did you write in clear C-R-A-C structure for each issue?
  • Did your response have all the correct law? Which rules did you miss?
  • Did your analysis contain reasoning with law and fact? Did you just restate facts (without making legal connections)?
  • What is one thing you are going to differently with your next MEE/MPT that you learned from this practice?
  • Do you need more writing practice? If so, when are you going to schedule it this week?

Evaluation is critical, and adapting your study to what you need based on your self-assessment is even more critical. Engaging in this practice will make you better learners, and will allow you to retain information better. Participate in self-assessment this week moving forward and throughout your entire bar study!

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